Mixed Mushroom Soup Recipe

A big, hearty mushroom soup made with a mish-mash of market mushrooms, pearled barley, toasted sesame oil, and onions.

Mixed Mushroom Soup

Big, hearty soups are what appeal to me this time of year - flavorful broths punctuated with earthy mushrooms, starchy beans, long-cooked onions, or chunks of roasted winter squash. The sort of soups and stews that are able to take their place at the center of a meal instead of being relegated to a side dish. This is exactly the sort of soup I made over the weekend. I used a mish-mash of market mushrooms, a bit of cooked barley, and a good dose of onions. I gave it a bit of a Japanese flavor profile by using toasted sesame oil and shoyu/soy sauce as finishing elements. Quick, hearty, and satisfying.

Mixed Mushroom Soup Recipe

You've heard me say it before, there a few things that help me eat well throughout the week - even when things get busy. I make over-sized pots of soup, like this one, let the leftovers cool to room temperature, then freeze them off in quart-sized baggies. A lot of the soups I love have grains and veggies and often some element of protein. They make for quick, one-pot lunches and dinners that you can pull from the refrigerator or freezer and have on the table in under ten minutes. It feels awesome. I've found on days when I'm too busy to shop, or cook something from scratch, these sorts of soups are just the thing I crave. And its a nice option to have versus eating out or ordering take-out.

Mixed Mushroom Soup Recipe

As I mention down below, I made this soup with barley, but it could also work well with wild rice or brown rice. You could also skip the soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, and take things in an entirely different direction. A bit of smoked paprika and lemon creme fraiche might be interesting. Or what if you did a saffron yogurt swirl, like we did for this lentil soup and added lots of chopped chives to finish?

And a little housekeeping, if you'll permit? Somehow, six months has passed since the last update on my new cookbook. Not sure how that happened, but I assure you - plenty has been going on behind the scenes. I turned in the manuscript over the summer, we decided on an entirely new jacket, a handful of people I deeply admire were kind enough to write notes for the back cover, and if all went well last week, Super Natural Every Day should be at the printer. I can't believe I'm actually typing that sentence. I promise to do a proper write up and post a bunch of pics sometime in the next couple of weeks.

And! before it slips my mind - I know many of you are on the lookout for vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, and vegan ones as well. I updated those pages the other day and hope some of these recipes might make it to your holiday tables.

And lastly - a few of us have started cooking recipes from the newly-released Essential New York Times Cookbook. I think we'll focus on it through November, and then pick another cookbook to focus on in December. Please join us if you like! I learn much from spending time with individual books - and I bet you will too. So far, I've cooked Bill Granger's Scrambled Eggs, a variation on the Poppy Seed Torte, and the Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles - you can see my notes here. Judy Rodger's Warm Bread Salad is next on my list. -h

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Mixed Mushroom Chowder

As I mention in the main pot, I used cooked pearl barley that I happened to have bagged and frozen on hand. I could've just as easily reached for brown rice, wild rice, or even wheatberries - use whatever you've got! On the mushroom front - use a combination of mushrooms - brown, porcini, chanterelle, etc. The soup was particularly good with a slab of grilled sesame seed bread from Tartine.

You might add a bit of cubed pan-fried tofu, tempeh, or seitan, crouton-style to make this a complete one-dish meal. And as far as leftovers go, for a slightly more decadent version, I'm thinking about whipping up a bit of heavy cream, adding the toasted sesame oil to it, salting it, and serving the soup with a dollop of the cream plus some chives on top...

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or clarified butter

1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces

fine grain sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons shoyu or soy sauce
1 1/2 cups cooked pearled barley
6 cups / 1.5 l good-tasting vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
finely chopped chives, to serve

In your largest, widest soup pot heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring a couple times along the way, until the mushrooms release their liquid and they are deeply browned. About 8 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, set aside on a plate.

Using the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and cook until tender, a few minutes. Stir 2 tablespoons of the shoyu, barley, and then the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat a bit. Add the mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes or so. Stir in the toasted sesame oil and taste. You might want to add remaining tablespoon of shoyu or soy sauce, particularly if your broth wasn't very salty. And you might want to add more toasted sesame oil a few drops at a time. Just keep tweaking until everything balances out for you. Serve sprinkled with lots of chopped chives.

Serves about six.

Prep time: 15 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I come from a country where mushrooms are used in hundreds of different recipes. I absolutely love them! On your pictures I see my favorite chanterelles. I recently posted a recipe for creamy chanterelles on toast. and although they are not easy to buy in the US, they are worth trying.

Bogna@Pots and Frills

Congrats, Heidi! Your Super Natural Cooking book is a staple in my kitchen :) This soup looks fantastic! I also cook up a huge batch of soup over the weekend to help me eat healthy during the week. Will have to try this soon. I usually make lentil soups as they are so filling


Congratulations on the book! Mushroom soup is one of my favorites. Love the addition of barley and soy sauce. Magda

My Little Expat Kitchen

Congrats on the new book! This soup looks great!

Simply Life

This soup looks so lovely. Great recipe!


somehow I never manage to make my oversized pots of soup big enough to realize the plan you have outlined. My family loves them so much, and they feel so guilt-free, that they never last for more than two meals! congratulations on your cookbook - I can't wait to know more about it!


I'm so excited to try this recipe! I've always heard about the wonderful health benefits of mushrooms, but beyond Italian food, I struggle with ways to incorporate them into my diet. The idea for this soup is great and I love the suggestion to add tofu to it to make it more of a "one-pot" meal. Tartine is one of my favorite bakeries in SF! I'm sure the sesame seed bread was divine :)

Anjali Shah

Heidi, exciting news regarding your book & I am curious if the jacket you chose was one from the selection you posted a while back. Secondly, I love the idea of the group approach to books in the 101 library - I am very tempted by the NYT book having had a look at a copy this week - I love that Bill Granger's scrambled eggs are creating a bit of a buzz as I have never made them despite having had a copy of his book Sydney Food for over 10 years! HS: Hi Kate - the eggs are beyond decadent, and perfect for a weekend brunch. I made them again for a house guest the other morning. I suspect, they are going to fast become my "special occasion" eggs.


Congratulations on the book! Now is definitely time of the year for soups and this sounds and looks absolutely lovely.

Green Kitchen Stories

I love the earthiness of mushroom soups, and the addition of sesame oil sounds wonderful. I'll certainly have to give this recipe a go.

jodye @ 'scend food

oh! and big congratulations on your new book! i've already placed my pre-order... Super Natural Cooking is a go-to in my house and can't WAIT for the follow up.


this looks perfect. hearty but not heavy. and savory whipped cream is a terrific idea for topping a bowl of soup! I'm sure you've mentioned a favorite vegetable broth here before, but could you remind us what you prefer to use?


Congrats on the book! I look forward to buying it. I'm in the process of having my own vegetarian cookbook published (it's not being released until Spring 2011), and I am so looking forward to saying those words too!! Best of luck:) Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

I've been wanting to try to make some soups and chillis this winter (I've only made one before). This one seems like an easy one to try and it looks so yummy and hearty!


I have been quite intrigued with mushrooms lately. I bought some very fresh trumpet mushrooms and they were delicious. I have also tried some pom poms and maitakes recently. All very different but delicious. I love a good mushroom soup. But even in mushroom country it can be difficult finding fresh mushrooms on the shelves and the farmers markets don't last forever!

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

One of my Friday farmers' markets has a mushroom vendor, and I always go unprepared without a plan for the week and never feel like I can buy mushrooms since they don't last very long. This Friday is the last day of the market and now I know exactly what I want to do. A few weeks ago I hated soup... not sure why, but now I'm suddenly obsessed and making every soup recipe I come across. I just made your Ribollita a few days ago - I froze a ton and still had plenty for a few meals already this week. It's by far my new favorite soup AND it's converting me to beans, too. Absolutely can't wait for your new book! :)


Congratulations on the book! I'm sure it has been a lot of labor - but I hope all comes out beyond your wildest dreams! I'll be picking up a copy. :) Or maybe I'll ask Santa for it. The soup looks filling, hearty and still is healthy, my kind of chilly day meal.

Georgie Fear

I really, really love mushrooms. It's supposed to be chilly and *hopfully* rainy this weekend here... Will need to run to the market to get the ingredients to make this soup. What perfect timing with the weather. Thanks Heidi!

Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)

Heidi, this look wonderful and mushrooms are so beautiful right now. I agree big time on making big pots of soup, so great for lunches too! Sometimes I add some miso and a little ginger as well. I like the sounds of the smoked paprika and lemon creme fraiche idea. Thanks for the continued inspiration.

The Bounty Hunter

Hooray for big pots of soup or anything I can make a glug of and pull out later, especially if it's one of your recipes! Can't wait to hear about the new book. I'm still loving SNC!


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